Dave Lebow

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Yes, they breed artists in Oklahoma too, where painter Dave Lebow was born, though his arts education occurred on the coasts, first in painting at Boston University and then earning his MFA in Experimental Animation at Cal Arts. For most of the first decade of the 2000’s, Lebow worked in animation, but returned to painting full time in 2009. Various sites refer to his style as ‘retro contemporary’, which doesn’t make sense at first, but in a way, is precisely what it is. On one hand, the work pays homage to the fantasy and adventure pulps of the 1930’s, but is reimagined through a contemporary 21stcentury vision. Similarly, his technique is fully traditional, often doing monotone greyscale grisaille underpaintings with oil glazes over those. A visit to the artist’s blog (link below) not only showcases more work, but preparatory sketches, model photos and much more. A lot of the work is epic fantasy oriented (with a wry contemporary twist, mind you), but I’ve collected several here that focus on more noir-ish settings and situations.

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http://davespaintingblog.blogspot.com

A Good Day To Die

good day to die polek holdova

A good day to die? Hmmm. Guess that all depends on which end of the gun you’re on.

“Good Day To Die”, by Lucem, from Polek Holdova.

Mrs. Olson’s Got Herself A Gun

Virginia Christine

Virginia Christine from 1947’s The Invisible Wall, a noir-ish crime film by Eugene Ford (with an early appearance by a young Jeff Chandler) about a gambler back in civvies after WWII who returns to work for his syndicate, but manages to lose $20,000 of the boss’ dough…and to kill a mug in the process. I haven’t seen it, but it must be good. After all, just check out the double-bill promo art below: “Booze-Blondes-Bullets, The Direct Trail To Skid Row”. All that a 1940’s crime film needed, right?

Virginia Christine (1920 – 1996) may be better known to retro TV fans as ‘Mrs. Olson’ from over 100 Folger’s Coffee commercials. But Christine was a respected actress who appeared in The Killers (she tested for the lead but lost out to Ava Gardner), High Noon, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Judgement At Nuremberg. Not a bad resume. Hey, she even did a turn in one of Universal’s horror films, 1944’s The Mummy’s Curse sporting a brunette Bettie Page do, no less.

‘Mrs. Olson’ clearly can wield an automatic as deftly as she can a percolator. Love that photo above, a cropped version first seen via Seattle Mystery Books’ new blog (seattlemystery.newtumbl.com), originally from Mudwerks’ Tumblr, till I spotted the full framed image at Pulp International (pulp international.com).

The Invisible Wall Poster - Double Bill

Femmes Fatales ‘Round The World (Even Romania)

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There’s more to Romania than Transylvania and Count Dracula. There’s Mihai Cvasnievschi at Bucharest’s XaviRo Studio, master of analog and digital portrait, commercial and art photography. There’s much to see at the xavi.ro site, but here are some striking femmes fatale (or ‘stiletto gumshoes’…you decide) images spotted there. ‘Noir’, classic noir, neo-noir, Euro-noir…whatever.  Dark and dangerous is always a lovely but lethal look.

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Have A Drink First?

Isa Vargas

If she offers you a glass of merlot, I’d accept. In fact, I’d go along with whatever she suggests, seeing as she’s the one with the revolver in her hand. By photographer Isa Vargas.

Yeah, But She’s Got The Gun…

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In the end, it’s all about who’s holding the gun.

Master fashion photographer-storyteller Steven Meisel shoots model Carolyn Murphy for a stylish editorial in Vogue Italia from 2002 that’s a sumptuous bit of Euro-Noir. Who can tell if Murphy’s gotten mixed up with a dangerous duo out of love for the handsome boy-toy, or been blackmailed by the suave ringleader? What we do know is that she’s the one holding the gun in the end, and making off with the money.

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Lovers & Drifters

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A t-shirt and lacy tap pants go well with cowboy boots in a southwest milieu, at least in this gritty desert noir photo suite, “Lovers & Drifters” with Cora Keegan shot by Jason Lee Perry.

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But a word to the wise: Think twice when you slow down for an abandoned sedan on a rural highway shoulder. Not every car needs a jump, particularly if the driver’s missing her pants. And packing a really big gun…

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Does Everyone Have A Gun?

Warren Louw

I count five in this handsome piece of noir-art by Warren Louw, and I don’t doubt there are more hidden inside suit coats and under skirts. This is one nightclub it’d be best to steer clear of.

Petty Girl, Packing A Pistol

george petty

Slickly airbrushed “Petty Girls” may have been artist George Petty’s (1894 – 1975) specialty for Esquire magazine’s mid-twentieth century centerfolds, but he was quite capable of letting a subject keep her dress on and turn into an elegant (and armed) femme fatale.

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